Who's Cooking: Gabrielle Lofaso

Gabrielle Lofaso of Belle Terre presents her award-winning

Gabrielle Lofaso of Belle Terre presents her award-winning Apple-Caramel-Pecan-Crumb Pie. (July 2, 2011) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

advertisement | advertise on newsday


A psychologist, she lives in Belle Terre with her husband, Robert, and children, Liana, 8, and Nicholas, 3. 

When does pie-baking season heat up for you? I experiment year-round, but come summer, typically on a Friday night if you peeked in my kitchen, you'd see me pounding out pie dough. It's a self-challenge: How can I top the last pie? It's a little like life: How can I improve things? 

Why are you bent on improving your pies? Every year for the past several years my pies have won ribbons in the Sherwood-Jayne House apple pie bake-off. As part of the historical society in Setauket, they do a yearly apple festival with an apple pie bake-off. The last four years I've earned ribbons in the "top three" positions; this apple-caramel pie earned a second-place ribbon twice, with maybe 30 pies entered. 

Besides delicious desserts, what do you get out of pie-making? It's what this psychologist does for her therapy! I have many other things in my life, because I really believe in balance, but baking is one of my passionate hobbies.


For the dough:

advertisement | advertise on newsday

1½ cups flour

1½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup cold butter

¼ cup vegetable shortening

Subscribe to our newsletter for restaurant recommendations, recipes and more.

¼ cup cold water

7 candy caramels 

For the filling:

8 Golden Delicious apples,

peeled cored and sliced

advertisement | advertise on newsday

¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1½ tablespoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon vanilla

advertisement | advertise on newsday

1 tablespoon lemon juice

10 candy caramels 

For caramel sauce:

15 candy caramels

1½ teaspoons water

1½ tablespoons butter 

For crumb topping:

1 cup flour

½ cup rolled oats

¼ teaspoon salt

1 stick butter

2/3 cup light brown sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pecan halves for garnish

1. Make pie dough: Place flour, sugar and salt in medium bowl and cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add water bit by bit until the dough comes together into a ball. Chill, if necessary, then roll into a circle large enough to fit into an 8-inch pie plate; trim and/or crimp edges. Chill dough for at least 1 hour. Sprinkle chopped caramels in bottom of pie shell; refrigerate.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Combine filling ingredients and toss well. Place in chilled pie shell; bake 30 minutes.

4. Make crumb topping: Combine flour, oats and salt in a food processor and mix to combine. Add butter gradually, pulsing until the mixture starts to come together; refrigerate.

5. Remove pie from oven and reduce temperature to 375 degrees. Evenly sprinkle crumb mixture on top of pie; return pie to oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until topping is golden brown.

7. Let pie cool 1 hour, then make caramel sauce: Gently melt ingredients in microwave for 1 minute. Drizzle pie with caramel topping and garnish with pecans. Makes 1 pie.

Subscribe to the Feed Me Newsletter for the latest restaurant news, recipes and recommendations.


Newsday.com now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: